Why be an Artist?

My Truths as an Artist~

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Why does someone become an artist/writer/musician/actor/dancer, etc…?

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1. It is easy

Yes, indeed, it is sometimes the easiest work of all! At such times the art flows almost without thought from the mind and spirit outward to the paper, canvas, piano, keyboard. But this is after years of training, years of practice and work.

Those years can be full of joy, but will almost certainly hold fear and insecurity, self doubt or even self loathing. Because the standard for the artist is set by himself.

Viewers may tell him his work is awesome or poor, but he is the one who knows when it is right. And we can be our own harshest critics.

2. It is fun

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Yes, it is fun! Sometimes. As a visual artist my senses delight in the color and texture I work with. It is such fun to use my imagination to think up new…

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Marriage and the Name Game

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“Your last names are different, are you sure you’re married? Really?”  and , “Could you send us a copy of your marriage license?”

Really?!  In this day and age, the credit union my husband and I were trying to open an account with actually asked this. After an unusually long review period. And we with an excellent credit rating and a marriage of many, many years.

All those years ago when I was in college, I decided to keep my last name if I married.When asked about how  my future husband might feel about that, my response was that if he didn’t approve, he was probably the wrong man for me to marry. I met the right guy, he said ok, keep your name, and that was that. What we did do was take each others last name as a second middle name. Hence, I was Patricia Carlson, I became Patricia Allingham Carlson.

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Are you married? Did you change you last name when you did? Good for you. Great choice for yourself. Did you hyphenate your two names? Great! Did you make up a new name for both to use? Fine! Did you keep your name? It’s all fine.

Why would anyone care? Well they do. Still.

I guess the old school thinking was about possession. I’m talking here of the traditional man/woman married union. As in the one married had become the responsibility of the other. At some point it became a badge of honor as well, as in, “I got the ring, I got the man, I’m now a Mrs. Smith/Jones/Allingham,”. Then there also was the passing along of a family, a clan name, and the inclusion into that clan. Ok. The joining of two families under one single name to become one new family, also fine. Of course, it was usually the man who got to keep his name, the woman who changed hers to his.

As one of three daughters in an extended family with daughters of the sons, no one would be carrying on the family name if they married. I formed my self identity with the name I was born with. Though I married into a fine family with a great last name, that was not my identity. And there was already a matriarch named with my given first name.

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My first year of marriage I was asked by my boss- in a nasty way- why I even bothered to marry my partner at all if I was not going to change my name! Why not just live together? As if that is all that marriage entails!  If you are married, you know that it means so much more than just changing your name!

So, here in this time, 2016, it is astounding to me that my name choice would be of any interest whatsoever to a financial institution. In fact, being together and filing taxes for so many years together, why would we even need to be legally married at all? But we are- no matter what our names are.

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To be perfectly clear- I don’t care how you resolved your names if you married. I don’t care which gender you chose to marry. I respect all choices as being right for different individuals. The main thing is that you united your lives, and that you respect each other and yourselves. Isn’t that about it?

Have a fine day, Mrs., Miss, Ms., Mr., Sr.,Mssr., All-

 

 

 

 

 

Four Dogs and a Crate

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Dog sitting for a vacationing friend I find myself navigating my home in a whole new way. Carefully that is. There are currently four dogs in my house. Two of the pets are large, two small, but all are constantly underfoot. And I mean constantly. If I sit and work a while, I stand to find three of them across any path through the room. I must pick my way carefully over and around the sleeping hulks to get out- and they grumble! But as I leave the room they all spring to their feet to follow me. I have learned to climb the steps to the far side, as they all rush ahead of me in a scramble. Going down the steps is even more hazardous- if I forget them and start down, I have almost been knocked off my feet as they try to run ahead.

In the middle of the family room/studio where I enjoy relaxing and working there sits a huge dog crate. One of my dog visitors must spend the night inside, as well as placed there when I leave my house. If I forget, she forgets how impolite it is to tear and rend anything she  deigns to reach. Three rolls of paper towels thus far have met such a fate, the floor resembling a snowstorm.

Her house mate enjoys the challenge of chewing on  more selective items; my favorite sofa cushions, a purple plastic bowl I put down with a treat, a very big old dog bone(good boy). Small pieces of purple plastic currently decorate my living room floor.

When one dog hears a noise and barks…they All bark! Bark! Bark! Bark! times four. And four times longer. And there is almost always a noise!

At mealtimes I am still working on an equitable solution for four starving dogs to eat at once. I muddle through, careful as they eat two different food types in four different amounts. Oy!

Each dog has his or her own personality- from bossy to easy going, from sneaky to blundering, from feisty to sneaky. No food can be left near the edges of any surface in reach. One dog is afraid of the dark; I must go outside into the cold night with her to encourage her not to “go” in the house. Additionally they all have varying needs for attention, and one is extremely jealous!

But- sweet they are. Each one gives as much love as they can. Each one tries their best to please me, and figure out what I want from them. And they think my actions and conversation are fascinating- unlike most of the human race, lol. So for this short time I will have the companionship of four dogs, the bulk of a large crate, and I will remember to laugh at their antics,walk carefully over them and on the stairs,  give them lots of pats, and tell them all how good they are.

And they all are.

a Muse lives in my Studio

Does a Muse live in your studio?

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“Blessed are the curious, for they shall have adventures.” ~L. Drachman
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She is a guardian. She is a fairy. She has blue hair and flies around my head.

No, I can’t see her, but two of my friends who are more “in touch” with their psychic side have told me of their thoughts on the matter. And that she is my guardian.

But she certainly makes herself known.

Over the years I have worked and taught in my home studio, I have had many, many artists and students create art in the room with me. Hundreds of people have worked there, and so many times I have heard, “I do my very best work here, in this room. When I go home, it just isn’t as good”.

And “Where did the time go? I just got here!”

When the muse is there she creates an amazing thing- inspired silence. Energy …

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Fairwell to David Bowie

When deeply moved by an event in life I am compelled to write and paint. I painted today, but need to write still about my feelings on the passing of this brilliant icon, David Bowie. His music was insanely good. He was remarkably talented, sexy and weird, eccentric and creative and outlandish.

The truth is of course is that there is no journey. We are arriving and departing all at the same time.

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His music seems like a transcription of my life, trailing through it and bringing such memories all the way. He hooked me in college, took my body over and forced me to dance with abandon to Suffragette City and Young American, Rebel Rebel. I could not refuse to dance.

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He wove deeper into my life with Modern Love, Changes and Let’s Dance, changing his image and presentations with grace and creativity. He led me through my young marriage with Golden Years, right into my first real artistic successes with Heroes, which I would sing along to at the top of my lungs (while alone of course)

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Then he presented as the amazing Goblin King and Magic Dance, extending his mesmerizing invitation to my kids, who were drawn in like children following the Pied Piper. And what a remarkable Goblin King he was. As the World Falls Down.

A Starman, a Man who fell to earth, a Space Oddity who entertained, fascinated me, gave me music though my life and helped me to celebrate the joy, weirdness and absurdity of it all.

I’m not a prophet or a stone aged man, just a mortal with potential of a superman. I’m living on.

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I will always miss the man who has passed, though I never even saw him. He gave his genius to the world, he gave it to me.

Thank you David Bowie.

I don’t know where I’m going from here, but I promise it won’t be boring.

D. Bowie

 

 

New Years Resolutions…for this Artist

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  1. Get and stay grounded. To me this means to keep to the present task- whether shopping for groceries or cleaning out an old drawer full of junk. My tendency to daydream can be a big time waster. Even while taking a walk I need to remember to live in the Now. trail-fb

2. Get a better schedule- with the holidays here I have been staying up too late, sleeping in too long, and doing a lot of reading. Time to get back to normal( though the time off was nice!)

3. Stephen King- Yes, an on-going goal of mine is to do a book cover or illustration for my favorite author. Free. Just to do a pay back for all the wonderful reading and adventures and places his great imagination have given me. Yoo-hoo Stephen- you out there?

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4. Keep up the current energy level- this past year has found me rather driven. As I learn more about marketing art, gain more confidence in my artwork, I have seen more success in my career. Success causes me to paint more, and each painting I do teaches me more about painting.

5. Don’t stop believing ***- we all have low times; the key is to remind myself of this and keep on trying. Getting rejected by a prestigious art show, doing a show with low sales and poor interest happens to many of us.As well as having those days/weeks where the ideas or abilities to paint are MIA. Keep the faith.

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6. Stay in touch with the important real life- Must remember to not get so taken up by my plans or obsession to paint that I don’t make the time for my people. And remember to enjoy where I am and what is around me right now. The housework- well that’s another matter.

7. Stop and reflect- what am I doing, where am I going, how am I doing at what I wish to do? Put down the book , tv, and spend some time going over the state of the being. Having some regular restful reflection time needs to be in the mix.

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8. Remember to be grateful. Many people help me all the time. I need to remember to thank them. And if some very good events occur in my life, I need to remember to be thankful. Actually I have been very blessed in many ways; gratitude is a very important grace to embrace.

9. Stimulate creative ideas- Winter can be such a dull time of the year. Art exploration requires creative stimulation. I need to look at the art of other artists. Take a hike outside in an interesting place. Go to a museum. Walk around a town street and take photos. Brainstorm and talk with others. Try a new art medium or medium use. Exercise the imagination. DSCN0756_24421 DSCN0757_24422 tam1-fb

10. Enjoy the ride! Life is what you make of it. Give it your all. Figure out the obstacles, deal as you must, then try to find the fun in what you do. After all, if you are a creative person with a talent at your art form, you have been given a tremendous gift. Use it and have as much fun as you can!

Happy are the painters, for they shall not be lonely. Light and colour, peace and hope, will keep them company to the end of the day.
— Winston Churchill.

Thank You

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What a year this has been…a very full one for me. Oh, how life has its ups and downs- people move on, illness can fall for the very ones who should never be ill. We all have our dreams and our worries and fears; dreams come true and new ones are imagined. When I hear a friend say, What can we do about all these worries for the world? I say , we can say a prayer or a wish for peace and resolution, then stop worrying and move on.

Life is very sweet when you consider the alternative-

So I am writing a thank you note.

I am thankful  for the beautiful earth that we live on. It is full of the most wonderful sights to see, places to be in. When I visit a huge gorge with the cliffs soaring up like cathedral walls I can hardly contain…

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Thank You

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What a year this has been…a very full one for me. Oh, how life has its ups and downs- people move on, illness can fall for the very ones who should never be ill. We all have our dreams and our worries and fears; dreams come true and new ones are imagined. When I hear a friend say, What can we do about all these worries for the world? I say , we can say a prayer or a wish for peace and resolution, then stop worrying and move on.

Life is very sweet when you consider the alternative-

So I am writing a thank you note.

I am thankful  for the beautiful earth that we live on. It is full of the most wonderful sights to see, places to be in. When I visit a huge gorge with the cliffs soaring up like cathedral walls I can hardly contain my exhilaration.

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When I see the vivid colors of the setting sun sky, I am filled with awe.

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Sitting quietly by a singing stream I am filled with peace. There are few places in nature where I do not feel the presence of God.

I am thankful for my family; for my husband of many years for his support and friendship. We have had many adventures together, from the hair-raising type to the shared joy. My children have grown into fine adults and added to their own families with fine spouses who have become like my children as well. Grateful I am for the two sweet grandbabies I can adore. Grateful too for my sisters and mother. Though they live far away, we talk and laugh often, share our love.

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My friends have brought so much into my life; I am so thankful for them! The shared fun, the empathy and kindness they have shown, the support they have given are priceless. Fran, Pat, Jeanne, Sue,  Lins, Ad, Dave, -Thank you my buddies!

I am thankful for my two dogs who give such unconditional love and friendship.  Grateful that I have a home, enough to eat, and have two legs that work well to take me where I want to go.

I am also very grateful for my love of art.

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The act of creating art is almost transcendental; while creating, time stands still, energy rushes in, paint flows and takes shape before your eyes. For me art is magical. It can fill me with excitement and take me anywhere I can imagine to travel. Art time = Joy.

Thank you to my customers ; you make it possible for me to keep on doing what I love.It means so much to artists to have you share their vision of the world and appreciate it for yourself.

Thank you to my art students, aged 4 – 70 -something. You come to my studio weekly, work so hard at your art, entertain me with all the fun, and inspire me with your ideas and creations. You all rock!

And Thank You for taking the time to read my blog, to look at my art, to chat with me about art ideas here and on facebook. Thank you for your support and your kindness, they motivate me to keep creating.

 

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To all- I wish you a blessed Holiday season, Winter, and a prosperous New Year.

Peace on Earth.

 

My Silver Fairy Bell

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My cool, bohemian fashion forward sister was wearing it, on a long chain around her neck. A silver orb, a bell that chimed so softly , sang with a ringing tone yet muffled; as though from behind a veil to another world.

I was enchanted.

And touched when she gifted me with my own necklace bell a few weeks later. It was Christmas time, and I wore it every day, holding it to my ear and hearing the magic bells chime, feeling the fairies dancing. That was over twenty years ago and I still bring it out every December. To those who don’t know of its magic, it looks like a festive holiday necklace. But it holds the key to my imagination.

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Orbs and spheres are magical shapes. They go round and round, the beginning and the end, containing worlds within them. Circles of life, symbols of eternity. To enter into one is to enter another realm where anything is possible.

I often use spheres in my artwork. I figure a little magik can’t hurt. I paint round entrances into the other side of the veil, portals opening in the distance,

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small glowing orbs in the air

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and on people’s brows,

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beautiful spheres, mysterious ones and perhaps dangerous ones too.

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All that we wonder about, all the mystery that floats on the world’s winds, legend and myth can be painted about. Adding magical circles can lead me on a fine imaginary adventure in my artwork. Maybe you too?

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Kiss on the Cheek

Today I don my fairy bell necklace, listen and smile as it chimes, gently hold it near the ear of my baby grandchild and share its magic song with her. Perhaps it will add some magic to my day; and it will surely remind me of my sister’s loving gift to me.

Have a very fine day, all.

 

Playing with Sand and Watercolor

A cool way to add texture and spontaneity to your watercolors!

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Textures- and watercolor- a continued source of fascination and challenge to me. I have purchased many books to learn how other artists have textured their paintings. I have seen and tried many; adding salt, dishwasher rinse fluid, rubbing alcohol, wax crayon, charcoal, powdered graphite, fabric, cassette tape, more. I have imagined experiments, including covering paint with snow and into the garden soil and leaves.

Recently I wondered what sand would do with watercolor.

Here is my experiment-

DSCN8439_21908 I prepared two pieces of paper by taping them firmly to a rigid surface.

DSCN8441_21864I draw wax around the edges to contain the wet paint on the paper.

DSCN8442_21865I put a handful of sand on the paper.DSCN8444_21867I drew on it with my finger, then sparyed it wet.

DSCN8445_21914wet sand.DSCN8446_21869I dripped paint onto the wet sand.DSCN8447_21870Yee- ha- having fun here!

DSCN8465_21934It took a couple of days for the mess to dry…

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